A talented little boy from Preston has got the Dales wrapped around his little finger.
Harvey Rogerson, from Walton-le-Dale, is making himself at home at the Woolpack, appearing on one of the nation’s best-loved soaps, Emmerdale.
The four-year-old, who lives with his mum, Alison, dad, Lee, and his younger brother Freddie and sister Ava, can be seen on our screens as Marlon and Rhona’s little boy, Leo, after he first appeared in the ITV show as one of the original actor’s party guests.
Harvey, who was born with Down’s Syndrome, stepped into the role after the little boy who originally played Leo passed away.
Alison said: “When Harvey was born, Emmerdale began a storyline featuring a mother who gave birth to a baby boy with Down’s Syndrome.
“The part was originally played by two babies called Theo and Harry and eventually just Harry.
Everyone at the Emmerdale team are so welcoming and warm and both cast members and crew take time to spend time with Harvey both on and off set,
“At this time I happened to contact the Down’s Syndrome Association to obtain some educational information as Harvey was starting nursery and I got chatting to the DSA press officer about the soap storyline and how the character was exactly the same age as Harvey with the same bright blond hair and she asked me if I would be willing for her to pass on Harvey’s details to the casting team as she was aware that they were looking for a second child to share the part with Harry.”
Three weeks later, Alison and Harvey visited the set in Leeds, and the little boy’s TV career began when he made his first appearance in May 2012 at Leo’s birthday party as a guest.
Alison said: “Harvey started by covering scenes when Harry was unavailable due to holidays or wasn’t well and covered the role with him until Harry tragically died last year.
“Since then, after an extended break, Harvey has continued to solely play the part.”
And Harvey, who attends Ashbridge Nursery, Hutton, and is due to start at Astley Park School, Chorley, this September, is loving his time on the award-winning programme.
“Everyone at the Emmerdale team are so welcoming and warm and both cast members and crew take time to spend time with Harvey both on and off set,” said Alison.
“He loves playing with his on-screen sister, April, played by Amelia Flanagan, and makes himself at home in his dressing room and high fives all the crew and canteen staff who always save him sausages for his breakfast!”
“If myself and Lee ever worry that we may be subjecting Harvey to negativity or ignorance by allowing him to be seen by a wide TV audience, we remember the reasons we decided to accept the opportunity. We are not seeking to exploit Harvey in any way but we hope that, by people hearing his story, sharing in his achievements, albeit slow and steady achievements, and seeing his shining little personality, Harvey can portray children with Down’s Syndrome in a positive way and that he be one voice in changing some common misconceptions about Down syndrome and what it means.”
Alison added: “People with Down’s Syndrome are being given the best chances in life and, far from being a regret or disappointment, Harvey is quite honestly the most amazing little boy to have in our lives.”